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I 

All amidst the Gardens fair 
Of Hesperus , and his daughter's three 
That sing about the golden tree. 


COMUS 

BY 


JOHN- MILTON 

ILLUSTRATED • BY 

ARTHUR RACKHAM 



NEW-YORK:DOUBlXDAY-PACE-$-C° 

londonavilliamheinemann 




A MASKE 

PRESENTED 

At Ludlow Caftle, 

i6 3 + ; 

On (^Afkbaelmaffe night, lefore the 

Right Honorable, 

Iohn Baric of Bridgewater , BracKly, 

Lord <l>r<2fident of Wales , And one of 
His Maiesties tnofl honorable 
Privie Conn fell. 







To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount 
Bracly, Son and Heir apparent to the 
Earl of Bridgewater , idc. 


My Lord, 

This Poem, which receiv'd its first occasion of 
Birth from your Self, and others of your Noble Family , and 
much honour from your own Person in the performance , now 
returns again to make a finall Dedication of it self to you. 
Although not openly acknowledg'd by the Author , yet it is a 
legitimate offsprings so lovely, and so much desired , that the 
often Copying of it hath tir'd my Pen to give my several l 
friends satisfaction , and brought me to a necessity of producing 
it to the publike view ; and now to offer it up in all rightful l 


IX 



devotion to those fair Hopes , and rare Endowments of your 
muck-promising Youth , which give a full assurance , to all 
that know you, of a future excellence. Live sweet Lord to be 
the honour of your Name , and receive this as your own, from 
the hands of him , who hath by many favours been long oblig'd 
to your most honour'd Parents, and as in this representation 
your attendant Thyrsis, so now' in all reall expression 


Your fait !if nil, and most 
humble Servant 

H. Lawes 



X 



The Copy of a Letter writt’n by Sir Henry Wootton, to the 
Author, upon the following Poem. 

From the Col ledge, this 13 . of April, 1638 . 

Sir, 

It was a special favour , when you lately bestowea 
upon me here , the first taste of your acquaintance , though no 
longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value 
it , and to enjoy it rightly ; and in truth, if I could then have 
imagined your farther stay in these parts, which 1 understood 
afterwards by Mr. H. I would have been bold in our vulgar- 
phrase to mend my draught {for you left me with an extreme 
thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with 
your said learned Friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might 
have banded together som good Authors of the antient time : 
Among which, I observe you to have been familiar. 


XI 


Since your- going, you have charg'd me •with new Obligations, 
both for a very kinde Letter from you dated the sixth of this 
Month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came 
t her with. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part, 
if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique 
delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly 
confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our Language : 
Ipsa mollities. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now 
onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (Jiow modestly 
soever ) the true Artificer. For the work it self 1 had view'd 
som good while before, with singular delight, having receiv'd 
it from our common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late 
Rj Poems , Printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I 
now suppose ) that the Accessory might help out the Principal , 
according to the Art of Stationers, and to leave the Reader 
Con la bocca dolce. 

Now Sir , concerning your travels , wherin I may chalenge a 
little more priviledge of Discours with you ; I suppose you will 
not blanch Paris in your way ; therfore I have been bold to 
trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall 
easily find attending the young Lord S. as his Governour, and 

xii 


you may surely receive from him good directions Jor the shaping 
of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my 
choice som time for the King , after mine own recess from Venice. 

I should think that your best Line will be thorow the whole 
length of France to Marseilles, and thence by Sea to Genoa, 
whence the passage into Tuscany is as Diurnal as a Gravesend 
Barge • I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather 
to tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in 
your safety. 

At Siena I was tablea in the House of one Alberto 
Scipioni, an old Roman Courtier in dangerous times , having 
bin Steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his Family 
were strangled , save this onely man that escap'd by foresight oj 
the Tempest : With him I had often much chat of those affairs ; 
Into which he took pleasure to look back from his Native 
Harbour ; and at my departure toward Rome ( which had 
been the center oj his experience ) I had worm confidence enough 
to beg his advice , how I might carry my self securely there , 
without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. Signor 
Arrigo mio ( sayes he) I pensieri stretti, & il viso sciolto will 
go safely over the whole World : Of which Delphian Oracle 

xiii 


[for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary ; 
and therfore (Sir) I will commit you with it to the best of all 
securities , Gods dear love , remaining 

Tour Friend as much at command 

as any of longer date , 

Henry Wootton. 


Postscript. 

Sir, 1 have expressly sent this my Foot-boy to prevent your 
departure without som acknowledgement from me of the receipt 
of your obliging Letter, having myself through som bu sines, 1 
know not how , neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part 
where I shall understand you fixed , I shall be glad , and diligent 
to entertain you with Home-Novelties ; even for som fomentation 
of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the Cradle. 


XIV 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


i 

All amidst the Gardens fair 
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three 
That sing about the golden tree (page 74) 

II 

And they, so perfect is their misery, 

Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, 

But boast themselves more comely than before 

III 

They com in making a riotous and unruly noise 

IV 

And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves 
Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves . . 

V 

By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim, 

The Wood-Nymphs, deckt with Daisies trim, 
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep 

VI 


PAGE 

frontispiece 


8 


. . 10 


. . 12 


. . 12 


The Lady enters . . 


20 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS — Continued 


VII 

. . . the Stars 

That nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their Lamps 

With everlasting oil, to give due light PAGE 

To the misled and lonely Travailer (page 21) . . . . . . 22 

VIII 

Calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire . . . . . . . . 22 

IX 

Sweet Echo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 

X 

The flowry-kirtl'd Naiades . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 

XI 

Enter the Two Brothers (page 31) 30 


XII, XIII, XIV 

Som say, no evil thing that walks by night 
In fog, or fire, by lake or moorish fen, 

Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost 
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time ; 

No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, 

Hath hurtfull power oTe true virginity . . . . . . . . 36 

XV 

The huntress Dian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 

XVI 

The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods, 

And fill'd the Air with barbarous dissonance . . . . . . 42 


xvi 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS — Continued 


XVII 

... as Daphne was, PA<jE 

Root-bound, that fled Apollo (page 49) . . . . . . . . 50 

XVIII 

The Brothers rush in with Swords drawn . . . . . . 56 

XIX 

The water Nymphs, that in the bottom plaid, 

Held up their pearled wrists and took her in . . . . 58 

XX 

Sabrina fair, 

Listen where thou art sitting . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 

XXI 

Fair Ligea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 

XXII 

By all the Nymphs that nightly dance 

Upon thy streams with wily glance . . . . . . . . . . 62 

XXIII 

Sabrina rises, attended by water-Nymphs . . . . . . . . 64 

XXIV 

Iris there, with humid bow . . . . . . . . . . • • 74 

xvii B 



at the 

first performance 

The chief persons which presented 

were 

The Lord Bracly 

Mr. Thomas Egerton, his 

Brother 


The Lady Alice Egerton 



xviii 



The first Scene discovers a wilde Wood. 




COMUS 


The attendant Spirit descends or enters. 

Before the starry threshold of Joves Court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 
Of bright aereal Spirits live insphear’d 
In Regions milde of calm and serene Ayr, 

Above the smoak and stirr of this dim spot. 

Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care. 

Confin’d and pester’d in this pin-fold here, 

3 



COM US 


Strive to keep up a frail and Feaverish being, 
Unmindfull of the crown that Vertue gives. 

After this mortal change, to her true Servants 
Amongst the enthron’d gods on Sainted seats. 

Yet som there be that by due steps aspire 
To lay their just hands on that Golden Key 
That ope’s the Palace of Eternity : 

To such my errand is ; and but for such, 

I would not soil these pure Ambrosial weeds 
With the rank vapours of this Sin-worn mould. 

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway 
Of every salt Flood and each ebbing Stream, 

Took in by lot, ’twixt high, and neather Jove, 
Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt lies 
That, like to rich and various gemms, inlay 
The unadorned boosom of the Deep ; 

Which he, to grace his tributary gods, 

By course commits to severall government. 

And gives them leave to wear their Saphire crowns 
And weild their little tridents. But this lie. 

The greatest and the best of all the main. 

He quarters to his blu-hair’d deities ; 

And all this tract that fronts the falling Sim 
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 
Has in his charge, with temper’d awe to guide 



6 


COMUS 


An old and haughty Nation proud in Arms : 

Where his fair off-spring, nurs’t in Princely lore, 

Are coming to attend their Fathers state 
And new-entrusted Scepter ; but their way 
Lies through the perplex’t paths of this drear Wood, 
The nodding horror of whose shady brows 
Threats the forlorn and wandring Passinger ; 

And here their tender age might suffer perill. 

But that, by quick command from Soveran Jove, 

I was dispatcht for their defence and guard ; 

And listen why ; for I will tell ye now 
What never yet was heard in Tale or Song, 

From old or modern Bard, in Hall or Bowr. 

Bacchus, that first from out the purple Grape 
Crush’t the sweet poyson of mis-used Wine, 

After the Tuscan Mariners transform’d. 

Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, 

On Circes Hand fell : (who knows not Circe 
The daughter of the Sun ? Whose charmed Cup 
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape. 

And downward fell into a groveling Swine.) 

This Nymph, that gaz’d upon his clustring locks 
With Ivy berries wreath’d, and his blithe youth, 
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son 
Much like his Father, but his Mother more. 




8 


COMUS 


Whom therfore she brought up and Comus nam’d ; 

Who ripe and frolick of his full grown age, 

Roaving the Celtick and Iberian fields, 

At last betakes him to this ominous Wood, 

And in thick shelter of black shades imbowr’d, 

Excells his Mother at her mighty Art, 

Offring to every weary Travailer 
His orient liquor in a Crystal Glasse, 

To quench the drouth of Phoebus ; which as they taste 
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst). 
Soon as the Potion works, their human count’nance, 

Th’ express resemblance of the gods, is chang’d 
Into som brutish form of Woolf, or Bear, 

Or Ounce or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat, 

All other parts remaining as they were ; 

And they, so perfect is their misery, 

Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, 

But boast themselves more comely then before ; 

And all their friends and native home forget. 

To roule with pleasure in a sensual stie. 

Therfore, when any favour’d of high Jove 
Chances to pass through this adventrous glade, 

Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star 
I shoot from Heav’n, to give him safe convoy, 

As now I do. But first I must put off 


II 

And they, so perfect is their misery, 

Not once perceive their fold disfigurement, 

But boast themselves more comely than before. 







COMUS 


9 


These my skie robes, spun out of Iris Wooff, 

And take the Weeds and likenes of a Swam 
That to the service of this house belongs ; 

Who with his soft Pipe, and smooth-dittied Song, 
Well knows to still the wilde winds when they roar. 
And hush the waving Woods ; nor of lesse faith, 
And in this office of his Mountain watch 
Likeliest, and neerest to the present ayd 
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread 
Of hatefull steps ; I must be viewles now. 


\_Exit. 



COMUS 


Comus enters , with a Charming Rod in one 
hand , his Glass in the other ; with him a 
rout of Monsters , headed like sundry sorts 
oj '■ wilde ‘Beasts , but otherwise like Men and 
Women, their Apparel glistring ; they com in 
making a riotous and unruly noise, with 
Torches in their hands. 


They com in making a riotous and unruly noise . 






COMUS 


1 1 



Comus 

The Star that bids the Shepherd fold 
Now the top of Heav’n doth hold 
And the gilded Car of Day 
His glowing Axle doth allay 
In the steep Atlantick stream ; 

And the slope Sun his upward beam 
Shoots against the dusky Pole, 

Pacing toward the other gole 
Of his Chamber in the East. 

Mean while, welcom Joy and Feast, 
Midnight shout, and revelry, 

Tipsie dance, and Jollity. 

Braid your Locks with rosie Twine, 
Dropping odours, dropping Wine. 
Rigor now is gon to bed ; 

And Advice with scrupulous head. 
Strict Age, and sowre Severity, 


12 


COMUS 


With their grave Saws, in slumber ly. 

We that are of purer fire 
Imitate the Starry Quire, 

Who in their nightly watchfull Sphears 
Lead in swift round the Months and Years. 

The Sounds and Seas with all their finny drove 
Now to the Moon in wavering Morrice move ; 
And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves 
Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves. 

By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim. 

The Wood-Nymphs, deckt with Daisies trim. 
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep : 

What hath night to do with sleep ? 

Night hath better sweets to prove, 

Venus now wakes, and wak’ns Love. 

Com, let us our rights begin ; 

’Tis onely day-light that makes Sin, 

Which these dun shades will ne’re report. 

Hail, Goddesse of Nocturnal sport, 

Dark vaild Cotytto, t’ whom the secret flame 
Of mid-night Torches burns ! mysterious Dame 
That ne’re art call’d but when the Dragon woom 
Of Stygian darknes spets her thickest gloom. 

And makes one blot of all the ayr ! 

Stay thy cloudy Ebon chair, 


rv 

And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves 
Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves. 





V 

By dimpled Brook , and Fountain brim , 

The Wood-Nymphs , deckt with Daisies trim , 
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep. 







A 













COMUS 


Wherin thou ricTst with Hecat’, and befriend 
Us thy vow’d Priests, til utmost end 
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out ; 
Ere the blabbing Eastern scout. 

The nice Morn on th’ Indian steep, 

From her cabin’d loop hole peep. 

And to the tel-tale Sun discry 
Our conceal’d Solemnity. 

Com, knit hands, and beat the ground 
In a light fantastick round. 









8 


COMUS 



Cotnus 

Break off, break off! I feel the different pace 
Of som chast footing neer about this ground. 

Run to your shrouds within these Brakes and Trees ; 
Our number may affright. Som Virgin sure 
(For so I can distinguish by mine Art) 

Benighted in these Woods ! Now to my charms. 
And to my wily trains ; I shall e’re long 
Be well stock’t with as fair a herd as graz’d 
About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl 
My dazling Spells into the spungy ayr. 

Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, 

And give it false presentments ; lest the place 
And my quaint habits breed astonishment, 


COMUS 


l 9 


And put the Damsel to suspicious flight, 

Which must not be, for that’s against my course. 
I, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 

And well plac’t words of glozing courtesie, 

Baited with reasons not unplausible, 

Wind me into the easie-hearted man, 

And hugg him into snares. When once her eye 
Hath met the vertue of this Magick dust, 

I shall appear som harmles Villager 
Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear. 
But here she comes ; I fairly step aside 
And hearken, if I may, her busines here. 



20 


COMUS 



This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 

My best guide now. Me thought it was the sound 
Of Riot and ill manag’d Merriment, 

Such as the jocond Flute or gamesom Pipe 
Stirs up among the loose unleter’d Hinds, 


The Lady enters 























COMUS 


2 I 


When, for their teeming Flocks and granges full, 

In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, 
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loath 
To meet the rudenesse and swill’d insolence 
Of such late Wassailers ; yet O ! where els 
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 
In the blind mazes of this tangl’d Wood ? 

My Brothers, when they saw me wearied out 
With this long way, resolving here to lodge 
Under the spreading favour of these Pines, 

Stept, as they se’d, to the next Thicket side 
To bring me Berries, or such cooling fruit 
As the kind hospitable Woods provide. 

They left me then, when the gray-hooded Eev’n, 
Like a sad Votarist in Palmers weed, 

Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus wain. 
But where they are, and why they came not back, 
Is now the labour of my thoughts ; ’tis likeliest 
They had ingag’d their wandring steps too far, 

And envious darknes, e’re they could return, 

Had stole them from me ; els, O theevish Night, 
Why shouldst thou, but for som fellonious end, 

In thy dark lantern thus close up the Stars 
That nature hung in Heav’n, and fill’d their Lamps 
With everlasting oil, to give due light 


22 


COMUS 


To the misled and lonely Travailer ? 

This is the place, as well as I may guess. 

Whence eev’n now the tumult of loud Mirth 
Was rife, and perfet in my list’ning ear ; 

Yet nought but single darknes do I find. 

What might this be ? A thousand fantasies 

Begin to throng into my memory 

Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire, 

And airy tongues that syllable mens names 
On Sands, and Shoars, and desert Wildernesses. 
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 
The vertuous mind, that ever walks attended 
By a strong siding champion. Conscience. 

O, welcom, pure-ey’d Faith, white-handed Hope, 
Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings, 

And thou unblemish’t form of Chastity ! 

I see ye visibly, and now beleeve 

That he, the Supreme good, t’ whom all things ill 

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, 

Would send a glistring Guardian, if need were. 

To keep my life and honour unassail’d. 

— Was I deceiv’d, or did a sable cloud 
Turn forth her silver lining on the night? 

I did not err, there does a sable cloud 
Turn forth her silver lining on the night, 


VII 


. . . . the Stars 

That nature hung in Heav’n, and fill'd their Lamps 
With everlasting oil , to give due light 
To the misled and lonely Travailer. 





yrrmsm 




VIII 

Calling shapes , and beckning shadows dire. 













COMUS 


23 


And casts a gleam over this tufted Grove. 

I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but 
Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest 
lie venter, for my new enliv’nd spirits 
Prompt me ; and they perhaps are not far off. 



24 


COMUS 


SONG 

Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph, that liv’st unseen 
Within thy airy shell. 

By slow Meander’s margent green 
And in the violet imbroider’d vale 

Where the love-lorn Nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well : 

Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair 
That likest thy Narcissus are ? 

O if thou have 

Hid them in som flowry Cave, 

Tell me but where. 

Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear ! 

So maist thou be translated to the skies, 

And give resounding grace to all Heav’ns Harmonies ! 




I 











COMUS 


25 



C omits 

Can any mortal mixture of Earths mould 
Breath such Divine inchanting ravishment ? 
Sure, somthing holy lodges in that brest, 
And with these raptures moves the vocal air 
To testifie his hidd’n residence ! 

How sweetly did they float upon the wings 
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night, 
At every fall smoothing the Raven doune 
Of darknes till it smil’d ! I have oft heard 
My mother Circe with the Sirens three 


2 6 


COMUS 


Amid’st the flowry-kirtl’d Naiades, 

Culling their Potent hearbs and balefull drugs ; 
Who, as they sung, would take the prison’d soul 
And lap it in Elysium ; Scylla wept 
And chid her barking waves into attention, 

And fell Charybdis murmur’d soft applause. 

Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense 
And in sweet madnes rob’d it of it self ; 

But such a sacred and home-felt delight. 

Such sober certainty of waking bliss, 

I never heard till now. lie speak to her, 

And she shall be my Queen. — Hail, forren wonder, 
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed ! 
Unlesse the Goddes that in rurall shrine 
Dwell’st here with Pan or Silvan, by blest Song 
Forbidding every bleak unkindly Fog 
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall Wood. 

Lady 

Nay, gentle Shepherd, ill is lost that praise 
That is addrest to unattending Ears. 

Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift 
How to regain my sever’d company, 

Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo 
To give me answer from her mossie Couch. 


The flowry-kirtl’ d Naiades. 







COMUS 


27 


Comus 

What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus ? 

Lady 

Dim darknes and this leavy Labyrinth. 

Comus 

Could that divide you from neer-ushering guides ? 

Lady 

They left me weary on a grassie terf. 

Comus 

By falsehood, or discourtesie, or why ? 

Lady 

To seek i’th vally som cool friendly Spring. 

Comus 

And left your fair side all unguarded. Lady ? 

Lady 

They were but twain, and purpos’d quick return. 

Comus 

Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them. 

Lady 

How easie my misfortune is to hit ! 

Comus 

Imports their loss, beside the present need ? 


28 


COMUS 


Lady 

No less then if I should my brothers loose. 

Comas 

Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ? 

Lady 

As smooth as Hebe’s their unrazor’d lips. 

Comas 

Two such I saw, what time the labour’d Oxe 
In his loose traces from the furrow came. 

And the swink’t hedger at his Supper sate ; 

I saw them under a green mantling vine, 

That crawls along the side of yon small hill. 
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; 
Their port was more then human, as they stood ; 
I took it for a faery vision 
Of som gay creatures of the element. 

That in the colours of the Rainbow live, 

And play i’th plighted clouds. I was aw-strook. 
And, as I past, I worshipt ; if those you seek. 

It were a journey like the path to Heav’n 
To help you find them. 

Lady 

Gentle villager, 


COMUS 


2 9 


What readiest way would bring me to that place ? 

Comus 

Due west it rises from this shrubby point. 

Lady 

1 To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose, 

In such a scant allowance of Star-light, 

Would overtask the best Land-Pilots art 
Without the sure guess of well-practiz’d feet. 

Comus 

I know each lane, and every alley green, 

Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wilde Wood, 

And every bosky bourn from side to side, 

My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood : 

And if your stray attendance be yet lodg’d, 

Or shroud within these limits, I shall know 
Ere morrow wake, or the low roosted lark 
From her thatch’t pallat rowse ; if otherwise, 

I can conduct you. Lady, to a low 
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 
Till further quest’. 

Lady 

Shepherd, I take thy word. 
And trust thy honest offer’d courtesie, 

Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds 


30 


COMUS 


With smoaky rafters, then in tapstry Halls 
And Courts of Princes, where it first was nam’d, 
And yet is most pretended : In a place 
Less warranted then this, or less secure, 

I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. 

Eie me, blest Providence, and square my triall 
To my proportion’d strength ! Shepherd, lead on. 

\_Exeunt 



Enter the Two Brothers. 






COMUS 


3i 


Enter the Two Brothers 


Slder ‘Brother 

Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair Moon, 
That wontst to love the travailers benizon, 

Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, 

And disinherit Chaos, that raigns here 
In double night of darknes, and of shades ; 

Or, if your influence be quite damm’d up 
With black usurping mists, som gentle taper, 

Though a rush Candle from the wicker hole 

Of som clay habitation, visit us 

With thy long levell’d rule of streaming light, 

And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, 

Or Tyrian Cynosure. 


Second Brother 

Or, if our eyes 

Be barr’d that happines, might we but hear 
The folded flocks, pen’d in their watled cotes, 


D 


32 


COMUS 


Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops. 

Or whistle from the Lodge, or village cock 
Count the night watches to his feathery Dames, 
’Twould be som solace yet, som little chearing, 

In this close dungeon of innumerous bowes. 

But O, that haples virgin, our lost sister! 

Where may she wander now, whether betake her 
From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles ? 
Perhaps som cold bank is her boulster now, 

Or ’gainst the rugged bark of som broad Elm 
Leans her unpillow’d head, fraught with sad fears : 
What if in wild amazement and affright. 

Or while we speak, within the direfull grasp 
Of Savage hunger, or of Savage heat? 

Elder ‘Brother 

Peace, brother, be not over-exquisite 
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils; 

For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, 

What need a man forestall his date of grief, 

And run to meet what he would most avoid? 

Or, if they be but false alarms of Fear, 

How bitter is such self-delusion ! 

I do not think my sister so to seek. 

Or so unprincipl’d in vertues book, 


COMUS 


33 


And the sweet peace that goodnes boosoms ever, 

As that the single want of light and noise 
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) 

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, 
And put them into mis-becoming plight. 

Vertue could see to do what vertue would 
By her own radiant light, though Sun and Moon 
Were in the flat Sea sunk : and Wisdoms self 
Oft seeks to sweet retired Solitude, 

Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation, 

She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, 

That in the various bussle of resort 

Were all to ruffl’d, and somtimes impair’d. 

He that has light within his own cleer brest 
May sit i’th center and enjoy bright day; 

But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts. 
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun; 

Himself is his own dungeon. 

Second brother 

Tis most true 

That musing meditation most affects 
The pensive secrecy of desert cell, 

Far from the cheerfull haunt of men and herds, 
And sits as safe as in a Senat House : 


D 2 


COMUS 


For who would rob a Hermit of his Weeds, 

His few Books, or his Beads, or Maple Dish, 
Or do his gray hairs any violence? 

But beauty 7 , like the fair Hesperian Tree 
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 
Of dragon watch with uninchanted eye, 

To save her blossoms and defend her fruit 
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. 

You may as well spred out the unsun’d heaps 
Of Misers treasure by an out-laws den, 

And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 
Danger will wink on Opportunity, 

And let a single helpless maiden pass 
Uninjur’d in this wilde surrounding wast. 

Of night or lonelines it recks me not; 

I fear the dred events that dog them both, 

Lest som ill greeting touch attempt the person 
Of our unowned sister. 

Elder ‘Brother 

I do not, brother, 

Inferr as if I thought my sisters state 
Secure without all doubt or controversie : 

Yet, where an equall poise of hope and fear 
Does arbitrate th’event, my nature is 


COML T S 


That I encline to hope rather then fear. 

And gladly banish squint suspicion. 

My sister is not so defenceless left 

As you imagine ; she has a hidden strength 

Which you remember not. 

Second Brother 

What hidden strength. 

Unless the strength of Heav’n, if you mean that ? 

Slder Brother 

I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength 
Which, if Heav’n gave it, may be term’d her own 
’Tis chastity, my brother, chastity : 

She that has that is clad in compleat steel, 

And, like a quiver’d Nymph with Arrows keen, 
May trace huge Forests, and unharbour’d Heaths, 
Infamous Hills, and sandy perilous wildes ; 

Where, through the sacred raves of Chastity, 

No savage fierce, Bandite, or mountaineer 
Will dare to sovl her Virgin purity ; 

Yea, there where very desolation dwels, 

By grots and caverns shag’d with horrid shades, 
She may pass on with unblench’t majesty, 

Be it not don in pride, or in presumption. 


COMUS 


3 6 

Som say, no evil thing that walks by night 
In fog, or fire, by lake or moorish fen, 

Blew meagre Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost 
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time. 

No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, 

Hath hurtfull power o’re true virginity. 

Do ye beleeve me yet, or shall I call 
Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece 
To testifie the arms of Chastity ? 

Hence had the huntress Dian her dred bow, 

Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste, 

Wherwith she tam’d the brinded lioness 

And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought 

The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men 

Fear’d her stern frown, and she was queen oth’ Woods. 

What was that snaky-headed Gorgon sheild 



Som say , no evil thing that walks by night 
In fog , or fire , by lake or moorish fen , 

Blew meager Hag , or stubborn unlaid ghost 
That breaks his magick chains at cur feu time ; 
iVo goblin, or swart faery of the mine, 

Hath hurtfull power o' re true virginity. 



















XIII 






























COMUS 


37 


That wise Minerva wore, unconquer’d Virgin, 
Wherwith she freez’d her foes to congeal’d stone. 
But rigid looks of Chast austerity. 

And noble grace that dash’t brute violence 
With sudden adoration, and blank aw? 

So dear to Heav’n is Saintly chastity, 

That, when a soul is found sincerely so, 

A thousand liveried Angels lacky her, 

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt, 

And in cleer dream, and solemn vision, 

Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear, 

Till oft convers with heav’nly habitants 
Begin to cast a beam on th’outward shape. 

The unpolluted temple of the mind. 

And turns it by degrees to the souls essence. 

Till all be made immortal. But, when lust 
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk. 
But most by leud and lavish act of sin, 

Lets in defilement to the inward parts. 

The soul grows clotted by contagion, 

Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose 
The divine property of her first being. 

Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 
Oft seen in Charnell vaults and Sepulchers 
Lingering, and sitting by a new made grave, 


3 » 


COMUS 


As loath to leave the body that it lov’d. 

And link’t it self by carnal sensualty 
To a degenerate and degraded state. 

Second ‘Brother 

How charming is divine Philosophy ! 

Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 
But musical as is Apollo’s lute, 

And a perpetual feast of nectar’d sweets, 

Where no crude surfet raigns. 

Elder Brother 

List, list, I hear 

Som far off hallow break the silent Air. 

Second Brother 

Me thought so too ; what should it be ? 

Elder Brother 

For certain 

Either som one like us night-founder’d here, 

Or els som neighbour Wood-man, or at worst, 
Som roaving Robber calling to his fellows. 

Second Brother 

Heav’n keep my sister ! Agen, agen, and neer ; 
Best draw, and stand upon our guard. 


COMUS 


39 


Elder ‘Brother 

lie hallow ; 

If he be friendly, he comes well ; if not. 

Defence is a good cause, and Heav’n be for us ! 

Enter the attendant Spirit , habited like a Shepherd. 

That hallow I should know. What are you ? speak ; 
Com not too neer, you fall on iron stakes else. 

Spirit 

What voice is that ? my young Lord ? speak agen. 

Second Brother 

O brother, ’tis my father Shepherd, sure. 

Elder Brother 

Thyrsis ? Whose artful strains have oft delaid 
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal, 

And sweeten’d every muskrose of the dale ? 

How cam’st thou here, good Swain ? hath any ram 
Slip’t from the fold, or young Kid lost his dam, 

Or straggling weather the pen’t flock forsook ? 

How couldst thou find this dark sequester’d nook ? 


40 


COMUS 


Spirit 

0 my lov’d masters heir, and his next joy, 

1 came not here on such a trivial toy 

As a stray’d Ewe, or to pursue the stealth 
Of pilfering Woolf ; not all the fleecy wealth 
That doth enrich these Downs, is worth a thought 
To this my errand, and the care it brought. 

But O ! my Virgin Lady, where is she ? 

How chance she is not in your company? 

Elder brother 

To tell thee sadly. Shepherd, without blame 
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 

Spirit 

Ay me unhappy ! then my fears are true. 

Elder Hr other 

What fears, good Thyrsis ? Prethee briefly shew. 

Spirit 

lie tell ye. ’Tis not vain or fabulous, 

(Though so esteem’d by shallow ignorance,) 

What the sage Poets, taught by th’ heav’nly Muse, 


COMUS 


4 


Storied of old in high immortal vers 
Of dire Chimera’s and inchanted lies, 

And rifted Rocks whose entrance leads to hell ; 

For such there be, but unbelief is blind. 

Within the navil of this hideous Wood, 

Immur’d in cypress shades, a Sorcerer dwels, 

Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, 

Deep skill’d in all his mothers witcheries ; 

And here to every thirsty wanderer 
By sly enticement gives his banefull cup, 

With many murmurs mixt ; whose pleasing poison 
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, 

And the inglorious likenes of a beast 
Fixes instead, unmoulding reasons mintage 
Character’d in the face ; this have I learn’t 
Tending my flocks hard by i’th hilly crofts 
That brow this bottom glade ; whence night by night 
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl 
Like stabl’d wolves or tigers at their prey. 

Doing abhorred rites to Hecate 

In their obscured haunts of inmost bowres. 

Yet have they many baits, and guilefull spells 
To inveigle and invite th’unwary sense 
Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 

This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 


42 


COMUS 


Had ta’n their supper on the savoury Herb 
Of Knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold, 

I sate me down to watch upon a bank 
With Ivy canopied, and interwove 
With flaunting Hony-suckle ; and began. 

Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, 

To meditate my rural minstrelsie 

Till fancy had her fill. But, ere a close, 

The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods, 

And fill’d the Air with barbarous dissonance ; 

At which I ceas’t, and listen’d them a while. 

Till an unusuall stop of sudden silence 
Gave respit to the drowsie frighted steeds 
That draw the litter of close-curtain’d sleep. 

At last a soft and solemn breathing sound 
Rose like a steam of rich distill’d Perfumes, 

And stole upon the Air, that even Silence 

Was took e’re she was ware, and wish’t she might 

Deny her nature, and be never more. 

Still to be so displac’t. I was all eare. 

And took in strains that might create a soul 
Under the ribs of Death. But O ! ere long 
Too well I did perceive it was the voice 
Of my most honour’d Lady, your dear sister. 
Amaz’d I stood, harrow’d with grief and fear ; 


XVI 

The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods, 
And f il'd the Air with barbarous dissonance. 












if w^A 




-j 





COMUS 


43 


And O poor hapless Nightingale, thought I, 

How sweet thou sing’st, how neer the deadly snare ! 
Then down the Lawns I ran with headlong hast, 
Through paths and turnings oft’n trod by day, 

Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place 
Where that damn’d wisard, hid in sly disguise 
(For so by certain signes I knew), had met 
Already, ere my best speed could prevent, 

The aidless innocent Lady, his wish’t prey ; 

Who gently ask’t if he had seen such two, 
Supposing him som neighbour villager ; 

Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess’t 
Ye were the two she mean’t ; with that I sprung 
Into swift flight, till I had found you here, 

But furder know I not. 

Second ‘Brother 

O night and shades. 

How are ye joyn’d with hell in triple knot 
Against th’unarmed weakness of one Virgin, 

Alone and helpless ! Is this the confidence 
You gave me, Brother ? 

Slder Brother 

Yes, and keep it still ; 


44 


COMUS 


Lean on it safely ; not a period 

Shall be unsaid for me : against the threats 

Of malice or of sorcery, or that power 

Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm : 

Vertue may be assail’d, but never hurt, 

Surpriz’d by unjust force, but not enthrall’d ; 

Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm, 
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory. 

But evil on it self shall back recoyl, 

And mix no more with goodness, when, at last 
Gather’d like scum, and setl’d to it self, 

It shall be in eternal restless change 
Self-fed and self-consum’d. If this fail, 

The pillar’d firmament is rott’nness, 

And earths base built on stubble. But com, let’s on 
Against th’opposing will and arm of Heav’n 
May never this just sword be lifted up ; 

But for that damn’d magician, let him be girt 
With all the greisly legions that troop 
Under the sooty flag of Acheron, 

Harpyies and Hydra’s, or all the monstrous forms 
’Twixt Africa and Inde, lie find him out, 

And force him to restore his purchase back, 

Or drag him by the curls, to a foul death. 

Curs’d as his life. 


COMUS 


45 


Spirit 

Alas ! good ventrous youth, 

I love thy courage yet, and bold Emprise ; 

But here thy sword can do thee little stead : 

Farr other arms and other weapons must 
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms ; 
He with his bare wand can unthred thy joynts 
And crumble all thy sinews. 

Elder brother 

Why, prethee, Shepherd, 
How durst thou then thy self approach so neer 
As to make this relation? 

Spirit 

Care and utmost shifts 
How to secure the Lady from surprisal 
Brought to my mind a certain Shepherd Lad 
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill’d 
In every vertuous plant and healing herb 
That spreds her verdant leaf to th’morning ray. 
He lov’d me well, and oft would beg me sing, 
Which when I did, he on the tender grass 
Would sit, and hearken even to extasie ; 


46 


COMUS 


And in requitall ope his leather’n scrip, 

And shew me simples of a thousand names. 
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties. 
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, 

But of divine effect, he cull’d me out ; 

The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it. 

But in another Countrey, as he said. 

Bore a bright golden flowre, but not in this soyl 
Unknown, and like esteem’d, and the dull swayn 
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon ; 

And yet more med’cinal is it then that Moly 
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave ; 

He call’d it Hcemony, and gave it me. 

And bad me keep it as of sov’ran use 
’Gainst all inchantments, mildew blast, or damp, 
Or gastly furies apparition ; 

I purs’t it up, but little reck’ning made 
Till now that this extremity compell’d. 

But now I find it true; for by this means 
I knew the foul inchanter though disguis’d, 
Enter’d the very lime-twigs of his spells. 

And yet came off: if you have this about you 
(As I will give you when we go), you may 
Boldly assault the necromancers hall ; 

Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood 


COMUS 


47 


And brandish’t blade rush on him, break his glass. 
And shed the lushious liquor on the ground ; 

But sease his wand : though he and his curst crew 
Feirce signe of battail make, and menace high. 

Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoak. 

Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. 

Elder \ Brother 

Thyrsis, lead on apace, lie follow thee ; 

And som good angel bear a sheild before us ! 



E 



' The Scene changes to a stately Palace , set out 
with all manner of deliciousness ; soft 
TMusick, Tables spred with all dainties. 


COMUS 


49 


Comus appears with his rabble , and the 
Lady set in an inchanted Chair : to whom 
he offers his Glass , which she pats by , and 
goes about to rise. 

Comus 

Nay, Lady, sit. If I wave this wand. 

Your nerves are all chain’d up in Alablaster, 

And you a statue; or as Daphne was. 

Root-bound, that fled Apollo. 

Lady 

Fool, do not boast ; 

Thou canst not touch the freedom of my minde 
With all thy charms, although this corporal rinde 
Thou haste immanad’d, while Heav’n sees good. 

Comus 

Why are you vext, Lady ? why do you frown ? 

Here dwell no frowns, nor anger ; from these gates 
Sorrow flies farr. See, here be all the pleasures 
That fancy can beget on youthfull thoughts, 

When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns 
Brisk as the April buds in Primrose-season. 

And first behold this cordial Julep here 


5 ° 


COMUS 


That flames and dances in his crystal bounds. 

With spirits of balm and fragrant Syrops mixt. 

Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone 
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, 

Is of such power to stir up joy as this, 

To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. 

Why should you be so cruel to your self, 

And to those dainty limms which nature lent 
For gentle usage and soft delicacy ? 

But you invert the cov’nants of her trust, 

And harshly deal, like an ill borrower, 

With that which you receiv’d on other terms ; 
Scorning the unexempt condition 
By which all mortal frailty must subsist, 
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain; 

That have been tir’d all day without repast. 

And timely rest have wanted ; but, fair Virgin, 
This will restore all soon. 

Lady 

’Twill not, false traitor ; 

’Twill not restore the truth and honesty 

That thou hast banish’t from thy tongue with lies. 

Was this the cottage, and the safe abode 

Thou told’st me of? What grim aspects are these. 


XVII 


. ... as Daphne zvas, 
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. 







COMUS 


5 


These oughly-headed Monsters ? Mercy guard me ! 
Hence with thy brew’d inchantments, foul deceiver ; 
Hast thou betrai’d my credulous innocence 
With visor’d falshood and base forgery, 

And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here 
With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute ? 

Were it a draft for Juno when she banquets, 

I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None 
But such as are good men can give good things ; 

And that which is not good is not delicious 
To a well-govern’d and wise appetite. 

Co mus 

O foolishnes of men ! that lend their ears 
To those budge doctors of the Stoick Furr, 

And fetch their precepts from the Cynick Tub, 

Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence ! 

Wherefore did Nature powre her bounties forth 
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, 

Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks. 
Thronging the Seas with spawn innumerable, 

But all to please and sate the curious taste ? 

And set to work millions of spinning Worms, 

That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair’d silk 
To deck her Sons ; and, that no corner might 


52 


COMUS 


Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loyns 

She hutch’t th’all-worshipt ore and precious gems. 

To store her children with. If all the world 
Should in a pet of temperance feed on Pulse, 

Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but Freize, 
Th’all-giver would be unthank’t, would be unprais’d. 

Not half his riches known, and yet despis’d ; 

And we should serve him as a grudging master. 

As a penurious niggard of his wealth ; 

And live like Natures bastards, not her sons, 

Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight, 
And strangl’d with her waste fertility, 

Th’earth cumber’d, and the wing’d air dark’t with plumes ; 
The herds would over-multitude their Lords, 

The Sea o’refraught would swell, and th’unsought diamonds 
Would so emblaze the forhead of the Deep, 

And so bestudd with Stars, that they below 
Would grow inur’d to light, and com at last 
To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows. 

List, Lady : be not coy, and be not cosen’d 
With that same vaunted name, Virginity ; 

Beauty is natures coyn, must not be hoorded, 

But must be currant ; and the good thereof 
Consists in mutual and partak’n bliss, 

Unsavoury in th’injoyment of it self. 


COMUS 


53 


If you let slip time, like a neglected rose 
It withers on the stalk with languish’t head. 

Beauty is natures brag, and must be shown 
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, 

Where most may wonder at the workmanship. 

It is for homely features to keep home ; 

They had their name thence ; course complexions 
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply 
The sampler, and to teize the huswifes wooll. 

What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that, 
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn ? 

There was another meaning in these gifts ; 

Think what, and be adviz’d ; you are but young yet. 

Lady 

I had not thought to have unlockt my lips 
In this unhallow’d air, but that this Jugler 
Would think to charm my judgement, as mine eyes, 
Obtruding false rules pranckt in reasons garb. 

I hate when vice can bolt her arguments, 

And vertue has no tongue to check her pride. 
Impostor, do not charge most innocent nature. 

As if she would her children should be riotous 
With her abundance ; she, good cateress, 

Means her provision onely to the good, 


54 


COMUS 


That live according to her sober laws 
And holy dictate of spare Temperance : 

If every just man that now pines with want 
Had but a moderate and beseeming share 
Of that which lewdly-pamper’d Luxury 
Now heaps upon som few with vast excess. 

Natures full blessings would be well dispenc’t 
In unsuperfluous eeven proportion. 

And she no whit encomber’d with her store ; 

And then the giver would be better thank’t, 

His praise due paid ; for swinish gluttony 
Ne’re looks to Heav’n amidst his gorgeous feast, 

But with besotted base ingratitude 

Cramms, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on 

Or have I said anough ? To him that dares 

Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words 

Against the Sun-clad power of Chastity 

Fain would I somthing say ; yet to what end ? 

Thou hast nor Eare, nor Soul to apprehend 

The sublime notion, and high mystery 

That must be utter’d to unfold the sage 

And serious doctrine of Virginity ; 

And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know 
More happiness then this thy present lot. 

Enjoy your deer Wit, and gay Rhetorick 


COMUS 


55 


That hath so well been taught her dazling fence ; 

Thou art not fit to hear thy self convinc’t : 

Yet should I try, the uncon trouled worth 
Of this pure cause would kindle my rap’t spirits 
To such a flame of sacred vehemence, 

That dumb things would be mov’d to sympathize. 

And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake, 
Till all thy magick structures, rear’d so high, 

Were shatter’d into heaps o’re thy false head. 

Comas 

She fables not ; I feel that I do fear 
Her words, set off by som superior power ; 

And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddring dew 
Dips me all o’re ; as when the wrath of Jove 
Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus 
To som of Saturns crew. I must dissemble, 

And try her yet more strongly. — Com, no more ; 

This is meer moral babble, and direct 
Against the canon laws of our foundation. 

I must not suffer this ; yet ’tis but the lees 
And settings of a melancholy blood ; 

But this will cure all streight ; one sip of this 
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight 
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste. 


56 


COMUS 


The Brothers rush in with Swords drawn^ 
wrest his Glass out of Ins hand , and break 
it against the ground ; his rout made signe 
of resistance , but are all driven in. 



XVIII 


The Brothers rush in with Swords drawn. 














COMUS 


The attendant Spirit comes in. 

Spirit 

What, have you let the false enchanter scape ? 

O, ye mistook ; ye should have snatcht his wand 
And bound him fast ; without his rod revers’t, 

And backward mutters of dissevering power, 

We cannot free the Lady that sits here 
In stony fetters fixt and motionless ; 

Yet stay, be not disturb’d ; now I bethink me, 

Som other means I have which may be us’d, 

Which once of Meliboeus old I learnt, 

The soothest Shepherd that ere pip’t on plains. 

There is a gentle Nymph not farr from hence. 

That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream 
Sabrina is her name ; a Virgin pure ; 

Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine, 

That had the Scepter from his father Brute. 

The guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 
Of her enraged stepdam Guendolen, 

Commended her fair innocence to the flood 
That stay’d her flight with his cross-flowing course. 
The water Nymphs, that in the bottom plaid. 

Held up their pearled wrists and took her in. 


XIX 

The water Nymphs, that in the bottom plaid. 
Held up their pearled wrists and took her in. 







COMUS 


59 


Bearing her straight to aged Nereus Hall ; 

Who piteous of her woes, rear’d her lank head, 
And gave her to his daughters to imbathe 
In nectar’d lavers strew’d with Asphodil, 

And through the porch and inlet of each sense 
Dropt in Ambrosial Oils, till she reviv’d, 

And underwent a quick immortal change, 

Made Goddess of the River. Still she retains 
Her maid’n gentlenes, and oft at Eeve 
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows, 
Helping all urchin blasts, and ill luck signes 
That the shrewd medling Elfe delights to make, 
Which she with pretious viold liquors heals. 

For which the Shepherds at their festivals 
Carrol her goodnes lowd in rustick layes, 

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream 
Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy Daffadils. 

And, as the old Swain said, she can unlock 
The clasping charm, and thaw the numming spell, 
If she be right invok’t in warbled Song ; 

For maid’nhood she loves, and will be swift 
To aid a Virgin, such as was her self, 

In hard besetting need ; this will I try, 

And adde the power of som adjuring verse. 


6o 


COMUS 



SONG. 

Sabrina fair. 

Listen where thou art sitting 
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave. 
In twisted braids of Lillies knitting 
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ; 
Listen for dear honour’s sake. 

Goddess of the silver lake, 

Listen, and save ! 


XX 


Sabrina fair 

Listen where thou art sitting. 















62 


COMUS 


Listen, and appear to us 
In name of great Oceanus, 

By the earth-shaking Neptune’s mace, 

And Tethys grave majestick pace ; 

By hoary Nereus wrincled look. 

And the Carpathian wisards hook ; 

By scaly Tritons winding shell. 

And old sooth-saying Glaucus spell ; 

By Leucothea’s lovely hands, 

And her son that rules the strands ; 

By Thetis tinsel-slipper’d feet, 

And the Songs of Sirens sweet ; 

By dead Parthenope’s dear tomb, 

And fair Ligea’s golden comb, 

Wherwith she sits on diamond rocks. 

Sleeking her soft alluring locks ; 

By all the Nymphs that nightly dance 
Upon thy streams with wily glance ; 

Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head 
From thy coral-pav’n bed, 

And bridle in thy headlong wave. 

Till thou our summons answered have : 

Listen, and save 


Fair Ligea. 









XXII 


By all the Nymphs that nightly dance 
Upon thy str earns with wily glance. 















6 * 


COMUS 



Sabrina rises, attended by ■ veater-Nymphs , and sings. 

By the rushy-fringed bank, 

Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank, 

My sliding Chariot staves, 

Thick set with Agat, and the azum sheen 
Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green, 

That in the channell strayes ; 

Whilst from off the waters fleet 
Thus I set my printless feet 
O’re the Cowslips Velvet head, 

That bends not as I tread. 

Gentle swain at thy request 
I am here ! 


XXIII 

Sabrina rises, attended by tcater-Xxmphs. 






- 


V 


# 

* 



r t 

y 







; 


# 

i 

/ 




66 


COMUS 


Spirit 

Goddess dear, 

We implore thy powerful hand 
To undo the charmed band 
Of true Virgin here distrest. 

Through the force and through the wile 
Of unblest inchanter vile. 


Sabrina 

Shepherd, ’tis my office best 
To help insnared chastity. 

Brightest Lady, look on me. 

Thus I sprinkle on thy brest 
Drops that from my fountain pure 
I have kept of pretious cure; 

Thrice upon thy fingers tip, 

Thrice upon thy rubied lip ; 

Next, this marble venom’d seat. 

Smear’d with gumms of glutenous heat, 

I touch with chaste palms moist and cold. 
Now the spell hath lost his hold ; 

And I must haste ere morning hour 
To wait in Amphitrite’s bowr. 


COMUS 


67 


Sabrina descends , and the Lady rises out of 
her seat. 



68 


COMUS 


Spirit 

Virgin, daughter of Locrine, 

Sprung of old Anchises line. 

May thy brimmed waves for this 
Their full tribute never miss 
From a thousand petty rills 
That tumble down the snowy hills ; 
Summer drouth or singed air 
Never scorch thy tresses fair ; 

Nor wet Octobers torrent flood 
Thy molten crystal fill with mudd ; 

May thy billows rowl ashoar 
The beryl, and the golden ore ; 

May thy lofty head be crown’d 
With many a tower and terrass round. 
And here and there thy banks upon 
With Groves of myrrhe and cinnamon. 

Com, Lady, while Heaven lends us grace, 
Let us fly this cursed place, 

Lest the Sorcerer us intice 
With som other new device. 

Not a waste or needless sound 
Till we com to holier ground ! 

I shall be your faithfull guide 


COMUS 


69 


Through this gloomy covert wide ; 

And not many furlongs thence 
Is your Fathers residence. 

Where this night are met in state 
Many a friend to gratulate 
His wish’t presence ; and, beside, 

All the Swains that there abide. 

With Jiggs, and rural dance resort. 

We shall catch them at their sport. 

And our sudden coming there 
Will double all their mirth and chere. 

Com let us haste, the Stars grow high. 

But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky. 



7 ° 


COMUS 


The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow Town , 
and the Presidents Castle ; then com in 
Countrey-Dancers ; after them the attendant 
Spirit, with the Two Brothers and the 
Lady. 







72 


COMUS 



SONG. 

Spirit 

Back, Shepherds, back ! anough your play 
Till next Sun-shine holiday. 

Here be without duck or nod. 

Other trippings to be trod 

Of lighter toes ; and such Court guise 

As Mercury did first devise 

With the mincing Dryades 

On the Lawns and on the Leas. 


COMUS 


73 



This second Song presents them to their father 
and mother. 

Noble Lord and Lady bright, 

I have brought ye new delight : 

Here behold so goodly grown 
Three fair branches of your own ; 

Heav’n hath timely tri’d their youth. 

Their faith, their patience, and their truth ; 

And sent them here through hard assays 
With a crown of deathless Praise, 

To triumph in victorious dance 
O’re sensual Folly and Intemperance. 


74 


COMUS 


The dances ended , the Spirit Spiloguizes. 

Spirit 

To the Ocean now I fly. 

And those happy climes that ly 
Where day never shuts his eye. 

Up in the broad fields of the sky. 

There I suck the liquid ayr 
All amidst the Gardens fair 
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three 
That sing about the golden tree : 

Along the crisped shades and bowres 
Revels the spruce and jocond Spring ; 

The 'Graces, and the rosie-boosom’d Howres 
Thither all their bounties bring. 

That there eternal Summer dwels. 

And West winds, with musky wing 
About the cedar’n alleys fling 
Nard and Cassia’s balmy smels. 

Iris there, with humid bow. 


XXIV 


Iris there , with humid how. 










COMUS 

Waters the odorous banks that blow 
Flowers of more mingled hew 
Then her purfl’d scarf can shew ; 

And drenches with Elysian dew 
(List mortals, if your ears be true) 

Beds of Hyacinth and roses. 

Where young Adonis oft reposes, 

Waxing well of his deep wound 
In slumber soft ; and on the ground 
Sadly sits th’ Assyrian Queen. 

But far above, in spangled sheen, 

Celestial Cupid her fam’d son, advanc’t, 
Holds his dear Psyche, sweet intranc’t 
After her wandring labours long ; 

Till free consent the gods among 
Make her his eternal Bride ; 

And from her fair unspotted side 
Two blissful twins are to be born, 

Youth and Joy ; so Jove hath sworn. 

But now my task is smoothly don : 

I can fly or I can run 
Quickly to the green earths end. 

Where the bow’d welkin slow doth bend ; 
And from thence can soar as soon 
To the comers of the Moon. 


76 


COMUS 


Mortals that would follow me. 
Love vertue ; she alone is free : 
She can teach ye how to clime 
Higher then the Spheary chime ; 
Or, if Vertue feeble were, 

Heav’n it self would stoop to her. 



THE END. 




THE 


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